Screw-Ups

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy trying to get to the bottom of the bonus situation at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. We’ve heard all sorts of conflicting rumors, but we think we’ve finally figured things out — to the extent that they can be figured out. This post supersedes all prior coverage of CWT bonuses.
In Litigation, we think that bonuses were fairly straightforward. This is our understanding, on very good authority:

1. 1900 hours and above = full, market-level, year-end and special bonus.

2. Between 1850 and 1900 = 75 percent of the regular year-end bonus, but NO special bonus.

3. Below 1850 = nothing, nada, zilch. Unless you were a first-year from the class of 2006 (first full year at CWT), in which case you got 50 percent of a year-end bonus.

4. For purposes of calculating hours, only client billable, pro bono, and “pre-approved” marketing hours counted. Other marketing hours, and recruiting hours, were NOT counted.

Read more — including a dramatic epic narrative from a CWT associate, describing how the firm epically mishandled the bonus situation — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Getting to the Bottom of the Cadwalader Mystery”

Hilton Fuller Judge Hilton Fuller Brian Nichols Above the Law blog.jpgThis has been all over the news. We like the ABA Journal’s version, ’cause it’s the crispest:

The Atlanta judge overseeing the prosecution of alleged courthouse shooter Brian Nichols has stepped aside from the case after he was quoted [in a New Yorker article] as saying, “Everyone in the world knows he did it.”

The New Yorker piece was by one of our idols, prosecutor-turned-writer Jeffrey Toobin (who launched our blogging career, with this Talk of the Town piece). Judge Fuller and Jeff Toobin were interviewed by the Fulton County Daily Report about the controversy:

“I had a specific agreement with Toobin,” said Fuller on Tuesday, before announcing his recusal. “Our conversation was to be on background only, and there would be no direct quotations or attributions, unless they were floated by me first.”

Not so, said Toobin, reached in New York. “I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I mean, it was clearly for attribution; we even had a New Yorker fact-checker call and confirm it. … I have great respect for Judge Fuller, but that was not at all my understanding.”

We’re with the meticulous Toobin on this one. In fact, we share the suspicion of one of the correspondents who wrote us about this story: Was Judge Fuller’s indiscretion intentional? Was it his way of getting out from under a long and complex nightmare of a case?
Judge Recuses From Courthouse Shooting Case Due to New Yorker Quotes [ABA Journal]
Judge Fuller recuses from Nichols case [Fulton County Daily Report]
Judge in Courthouse Shooting Case Steps Down [New York Times]
Death in Georgia [The New Yorker]
New Yorker Quote Leads to Atlanta Judge Recusal [WSJ Law Blog]

Georgetown University Law School Georgetown Law School GULC Above the Law blog.jpgGeorgetown is an excellent law school — “T14″ (top 14), as some like to say — with many things going for it. Supreme Court justices love to visit. Students get to take classes like The Law of 24. The diva-licious Nina Totenberg speaks at commencement.
Perhaps most importantly, at least to readers of ATL, Georgetown grads land excellent jobs. Not surprisingly, in a recent poll, a majority of respondents said they’d need $100,000 to turn down 14th-ranked Georgetown in favor of, say, 51st-ranked Arizona State (maybe ’cause they’d like to be separated from Kumari Fulbright by multiple states).
But GULC isn’t perfect. Mistakes get made — mistakes that could, say, compromise your personally identifiable information (and mess with your credit score). From several tipsters:

“You might want to post this so anyone who graduated during this time but didn’t get the e-mail knows about the stolen identities.”

“I got this warning this morning. Evidently, not everyone is affected, as students next to me in class have not received the email. Just thought I’d forward this along to show the problems at American could be worse – at least their identities aren’t at risk.”

View the email, after the jump.
Update: We have also posted a follow-up to the original message.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Public Service Announcement: Attention Georgetown Grads – Are You the Victim of Identity Theft?”


laptop computer web surfer Above the Law.jpgRemember MacGate, at American University’s Washington College of Law? It was resolved. But technology problems persist at WCL:

Date: January 28, 2008 2:34:20 PM EST
Subject: Wireless at WCL

Dear Student Body:

The following problems have been discovered with the WCL network:

1. All access points in room 101 were either turned off, or nonfunctional for the past two years.

2. All access points on the 5th floor were located in elevator shafts, or other places where they did not provide coverage.

3. Certain points on the 6th floor were assigned the wrong IP address,and so did not provide access.

The Technology department is working to address these problems. If you continue to experience problems with the internet, please inform the Student Services Committee at [xxxx]. You can also file an online trouble ticket, when you find yourself in an area with internet access, at [xxxx].

Regards,
Student Services Committee

At first we thought this was satirical, but we were assured that it’s not: “This is for real — we got it from the SBA today. Our wireless has been terrible recently.”
Your friends at ATL obviously want you to have wireless access in class. But we realize that some professors contend that internet access in classrooms is an impediment to instruction.

Susan Estrich Fox News Quinn Emanuel Supreme Court clerk Above the Law blog.jpgMore news from one of ATL’s favorite law firms, Quinn Emanuel. See Gawker and Radar.
If your friends are as fabulous as Susan Estrich’s, why hide them behind a bcc?
Query: Could this actually be a brilliant viral marketing ploy? Has Susan Estrich harnessed the power of the blogosphere to get all the world to read her paean to QE?
The Art Of The ‘To’ Line [Gawker]
Fox News’ Susan Estrich Has a New Job [Radar Online via Big Law Board]

Chuck Rosenthal District Attorney Charles Rosenthal Fatal Overdose Above the Law blog.JPGWe love tales of misbehaving DAs. And this one is a doozy. From the Houston Chronicle:

New e-mails released Tuesday show District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal sent and received racist jokes and strategized with political consultants and colleagues about his re-election campaign on his county e-mail account.

Also within the correspondence obtained Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle were numerous sexually explicit images. It was unclear, however, if Rosenthal ever forwarded those files.

Those were just for his personal wank collection.

Among e-mails that concerned Woodfill were video clips of nudity and sex acts and a racist joke forwarded by Rosenthal that compares former President Bill Clinton to a black man. The e-mail says Clinton played the saxophone, smoked marijuana and gets a check from the government each month.

Pot always struck us as more of a white person’s drug, but whatever.

Also included within the e-mails is heavy traffic between Rosenthal and Sam Siegler, Rosenthal’s physician and the husband of Kelly Siegler, who is running for district attorney. In one e-mail from Sam Siegler to Rosenthal, an attached video shows women having their breasts exposed after men forcibly pulled down their blouses in public. The video called the act “sharking.”

Kelly Siegler dismissed her husband’s e-mails. “He cusses like a sailor and his sense of humor is crude, to put it mildly,” she said. “It’s his computer and what he does at work is his business. He’s the boss.”

Stand by your man, Kelly. As long as there’s no kiddie porn in those emails, it’s all good.
Oh, and Rosenthal also sent “intimate e-mails to his executive secretary.” More details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Chuck Rosenthal”

Or a richness of embarrassment. Today we’re going to name not one, but seven Lawyers of the Day.
Our first Lawyer of the Day is Mark Mersel (formerly of Morrison & Foerster, now at Bryan Cave). In case you missed the shout-out in Morning Docket, here’s a bit more, from the WSJ Law Blog:

It’s a litigator’s worst dream — costing your client serious money by missing a filing deadline.

That nightmare was a reality for MoFo, which appears to have cost its client Toshiba America $1 million when it was one-minute late — 1 minute! — in filing a motion for attorneys fees.

For the exciting details — which involve a courier zooming through traffic on a motorcycle, and an unfortunately timed train — read the full post.
The other six Lawyers of the Day are no strangers to these pages. Let’s call them the Qualcomm Six. From the Recorder:

Qualcomm Qualcom Above the Law blog.jpgSix attorneys in the Qualcomm Inc. discovery fiasco were sanctioned Monday for “monumental” discovery violations and referred to the State Bar of California for possible discipline.

Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder attorneys James Batchelder, Adam Bier, Kevin Leung, Christian Mammen and Lee Patch, and Heller Ehrman’s Stanley Young were sanctioned and harshly criticized by U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Major in a 42-page order. The ruling follows a patent infringement trial Qualcomm had brought against Broadcom Corp.

The attorneys “assisted Qualcomm in committing this incredible discovery violation by intentionally hiding or recklessly ignoring relevant documents, ignoring or rejecting numerous warning signs that Qualcomm’s document search was inadequate, and blindly accepting Qualcomm’s unsupported assurances that its document search was adequate,” Major wrote.

Document production sucks — or, to put it more nicely, it’s a thankless task. It’s time-intensive, mind-numbingly boring, and a general pain in the a**. If you do it right, you’re just doing your job; but if you screw it up, consider yourself screwed. Monumentally.
Six Lawyers in Qualcomm Case Sanctioned for ‘Monumental’ Discovery Violations [The Recorder via Law.com]
Judge rebukes Qualcomm, its attorneys [San Diego Union-Tribune via Blogonaut]
A Litigator’s Nightmare: Late Filing Costs Client $1 Million [WSJ Law Blog]

laptop pink girl woman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLeave it to lawyers to complicate everything they touch. Over at New York Personal Injury Law Blog, Eric Turkewitz has this update on the New York bar exam fiasco:

The New York State Board of Law Examiners has confirmed to me that they will hear appeals regarding the July 2007 exam. That exam was plagued by malfunctioning software for those that submitted essays on laptop computers, only to see all or part of the answers disappear. The BOLE subsequently said that they approximated the answers if they were incomplete, based on how the examinees did on other answers. Those grade approximations were subsequently called into question based on an anonymous tip in this blog.

More details in the full post.
New York Bar Examiners Will Entertain Appeals Over Laptop Problems [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

Mac PC advertisement.gifIt appears that the situation we reported on earlier, concerning the plight of Mac users at American University’s Washington College of Law, has been resolved. Several of you forwarded us an email from the WCL administration outlining the steps they’re taking to address the situation, including “providing $12,000 towards the cost of laptop rental for all upper-level users of MACs that are incompatible with the exam software.”
Some reactions from students:

“At times it has felt like a modern PCU, sans George Clinton of course: ‘These, Tom, are the Causeheads. They find a world-threatening issue and stick with it for about a week.'”

“Although I am not a Mac user, and am fairly tired of hearing Mac users whining at school, it’s good to see my school do the right thing.”

“We just received this email from the Dean. Looks like your post helped us out. Thanks!”

You’re welcome. We aim to please here at ATL.
Read the full email, after the jump.
Earlier: American University MacGate
MacGate Update: An Explanation from the University of Kentucky

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “American University MacGate: An Update”

Joshua Sohn Josh Sohn Joshua S Sohn DLA Piper Above the Law blog.jpgLast Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral argument in Arar v. Ashcroft, a high-profile lawsuit arising out of the U.S. government’s rendition of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, to Syria.
We interviewed DLA Piper partner Joshua Sohn (at right), co-counsel to Mr. Arar along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, about this interesting case and his firm’s work on it.
For readers who aren’t familiar with the case, what’s it all about?
It’s about the federal government’s extraordinary renditions program, which sends “people of interest” to sites around the world for indefinite detention and interrogation under harsh conditions — in this case torture. Mr. Arar, who is a computer engineer, Canadian citizen, husband, and father of two young children, was pulled out of the immigration line at JFK when he was attempting to change planes, but not enter the United States. Mr. Arar was interrogated at the airport, detained and interrogated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, and ultimately flown by private jet in the dead of night to Jordan and delivered to Syria. Mr. Arar was never charged with a crime, was not allowed to consult with an attorney for many days when he was first detained and both he and his attorney were lied to about what was going to happen to him and the fact that he was being sent to Syria.
Mr. Arar made plain to those holding him that he feared being tortured in Syria and that he wanted to be sent to Canada-where he lived and was a citizen. Those pleas were ignored and Mr. Arar was sent to Syria where he was tortured and kept in a grave-like cell for almost a year. This case seeks to hold the federal officials who are responsible for Mr. Arar’s treatment, responsible.
Read the rest of the interview, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Arar v. Ashcroft: An ATL Interview with Josh Sohn of DLA Piper”

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